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COUNCIL OF EUROPE DISCUSSES THE ‘15-MINUTE CITY’ – A LOCKDOWN DAYDREAM OR A MODEL FOR SUSTAINABLE URBAN LIVING?

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COUNCIL OF EUROPE DISCUSSES THE ‘15-MINUTE CITY’ – A LOCKDOWN DAYDREAM OR A MODEL FOR SUSTAINABLE URBAN LIVING?

The World Forum for Democracy has given itself 12 months to answer one question: Can democracy save the environment? In a recent webinar hosted between the Council of Europe and the World Forum for Democracy participants explored the role that the local level can play in environmental action.


The COVID-19 pandemic has left public authorities at all levels facing an emergency unprecedented in both scale and scope and has exposed weaknesses in governance models. It has also served as a wake-up call: the well-being of humanity depends on the health of the environment. Metropolitan areas are at the forefront of the impending environmental disaster as they account for almost 70% of global carbon emissions and more than 60% of resource use.

Good governance, as encapsulated in the 12 Principles of Good Democratic Governance, clearly offers guidance to steer the authorities’ action. The 12 Principles call, for the best possible use to be made of available resources; 

  • that the public good is placed before individual interests; 

  • that new and efficient solutions to problems are sought; 

  • that there is a broad and long-term perspective on questions of sustainability and development. 

How can the 12 Principles be applied to urban spatial planning in ways that can help save the environment and improve the quality of life of city-dwellers across the globe?

The concept of the “15-Minute City” first emerged in 2016 and has been receiving increasingly visibility in recent months due to limitations to mobility that have been introduced to keep the pandemic under control. Offering access to key everyday services and functions within 15 minutes of where people live, in the so-called “15-Minute City” can help tackle environmental challenges and contribute to better social well-being, protection of biodiversity and preservation of natural resources, and the promotion of a functional and responsible economy.

Listen now to the webinar the “15-Minute City” 
speakers included:

Carine Rolland, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Culture and the “15 Minute City”,
Venla Bernelius, Assistant Professor of Urban Geography, University of Helsinki, and
Tamás Dömötör, Chief Government Adviser on Urban Planning in the Prime Minister’s Office of Hungary.

Category: International